Keaʻau drug dealer sentenced to 20 years for attempted distribution of methamphetamine
Charles Zuffante, 61 of Keaʻau was sentenced in Kona Circuit Court on Monday to 20 years in prison for attempted promotion of methamphetamine, according to Hawaiʻi County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen.
Zuffante was found guilty by a Kona jury in February.
After the sentencing, he was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
The case stemmed from a vehicle traffic stop by Officers Charles Caldwell-Ka‘ai and Devon Manuel on Oct. 21, 2021, near the intersection of Keanalehu Drive and Manawalea Street in Kona.
Upon Zuffante’s arrest, officers located a Ziploc packet containing 3.5 grams of methamphetamine in Zuffante’s pocket. The vehicle was towed to the police station, where Area II Vice Officer Justin Gaspar took over the investigation.
Officers recovered methamphetamine packaged in distributable amounts, specifically 10 Ziploc packets each containing 3.5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine and five Ziploc packets each containing 14 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine, according to the Prosecuting Attorneyʻs Office.
Zuffante originally was charged by a grand jury indictment in April 2022.
The case was initiated by Officers Charles Caldwell-Ka‘ai and Devon Manuel, Kona Patrol, and the felony investigation was handled by Officer Justin Gaspar, Area II Vice Section, Hawai‘i Police Department.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates our Office’s commitment to hold drug dealers accountable for poisoning our community,” Waltjen said. “We will continue to prioritize the prosecution and investigation of those who distribute dangerous drugs including methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin.”